Tuesday, September 27, 2011

(82) A vicious hate crime & learning to stand up for what is right

Title: LIE by Caroline Bock
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
224 pages
Genre: YA

I received this book as an advanced electronic galley through netgalley.com it was released 8/30/11

Synopsis: Everybody knows, nobody’s talking. . . .

Seventeen-year-old Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police. Her boyfriend, Jimmy, stands accused of brutally assaulting two young El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she’s the prime witness. Skylar is keeping quiet about what she’s seen, but how long can she keep it up?

But Jimmy was her savior. . . .

When her mother died, he was the only person who made her feel safe, protected from the world. But when she begins to appreciate the enormity of what has happened, especially when Carlos Cortez, one of the victims, steps up to demand justice, she starts to have second thoughts about protecting Jimmy. Jimmy’s accomplice, Sean, is facing his own moral quandary. He’s out on bail and has been offered a plea in exchange for testifying against Jimmy.

The truth must be told. . . .

Sean must decide whether or not to turn on his friend in order to save himself. But most important, both he and Skylar need to figure out why they would follow someone like Jimmy in the first place.

Review: The author flips back and forth between characters allowing you to hear their innermost thoughts, and reactions to what happened that fateful night.  The only voice that is missing is Jimmy, which I think is greatly missed.  All the characters revolve around Jimmy yet his voice is missing from the book, although one could argue that most of the characters are so enraptured by Jimmy that Jimmy has been thinking and speaking for them for so long that now they are getting their opportunity to speak and start to find themselves.

This is not an easy book to read. Its not the writing so much as the subject. It is a stark look at how people can delude themselves and how so many teens get wrapped up in what their friends are doing that they don't stop to think for themselves. It also takes a hard look, but not hard enough in my opinion, of racism. It is the story of doing what is right vs doing what others expect you to do. It is about knowing who you are and standing up for your beliefs.

I honestly didn't like this book at first and I couldn't figure out why.  I think it was the utter lack of anyone standing up for themselves, but just following along.  I realize that this has never been my issue for me or that of my children.  They stand up for what they believe even if it isn't popular.  Its not always easy.  It was kids like the one's in this book that I always had issues with in high school so its not hard to understand why I didn't like them.

By the end of the book I could understand its value and I really started to enjoy it and felt sorry for many of the characters.  There is no rosy ending to this book but there is some closure. I would recommend it to high school students and I think it could spark some interesting discussions.

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